This year I read Linchpin by Seth Godin, which encourages readers to refuse to serve as cogs in the wheel of capitalism but instead to become creative, thoughtful, and effective leaders that are integral to any team they join—linchpins.
The whole book is a pretty interesting and quick read, but one of the ideas that has stuck with me is Godin’s perspective on resumés. He argues that a resumé reduces one’s potential contribution to a single list of previous achievements and experiences, while a linchpin would instead possess a variety of immeasurable traits that a resumé would not be able to account for. Furthermore, not only would a “linchpin” not succumb to reducing his/herself to a resumé, but rather they would not have to. A linchpin’s work, reputation, and leadership would precede them…a linchpin does not look for an employer, an employer seeks out a linchpin.
This sounds incredibly idealistic and even ridiculous right? You freakin need a resumé.
But then I took a hard look at my own life and realized that only once did I receive a job by submitting a standard application (work-study office assistant in my department at USC). In every other job or internship, someone sought me out and gave me an opportunity to work for them because they had seen my integrity and work ethic in other arenas.
My current boss has never seen my resumé. In fact he literally said just last week, “What?! You double-majored in Spanish?”
Perhaps my take-away from this whole discussion is that one’s career isn’t the headers and bullet-points that fit inside one page of off-white linen paper—Instead it’s the thousands of conversations, emails, and brain-storming sessions…the encouragement shared with co-workers, extra hours to meet a deadline, courage to risk in a new way, the happy hour #realtalk, the menial details that almost never get noticed… the leadership to make tough decisions and to cast vision, the humility to do whatever needs to be done, and the constant aim for excellence.